The last major Windows update broke some systems with particular antivirus software installed, and it's seemingly getting worse. Earlier this week we reported that Microsoft halted updates to Windows PCs running Sophos and Avast's security solutions, following user complaints that their machines were locking up or failing to boot. Since then, the list of known issues for the rogue update was itself updated to acknowledge compatibility issues with Avira and ArcaBit antivirus installed, with Microsoft temporarily blocking updates to those affected systems, too. Today, Ars Technica noticed that Microsoft is investigating compatibility issues for systems with McAfee antivirus installed, though it hasn't started blocking the April 9 update from those PCs just yet. Windows 7 and 8.1 computers can fall prey to the bug, along with some Windows Server installations.
I've said for years that Assassin's Creed is more impressive for its art nowadays than the games themselves, but still, who would've guessed that one day Assassin's Creed would be used to restore a priceless piece of architectural history? That news, plus a new Lego Star Wars, an Old Republic expansion and potential film adaptation, details for Netflix's Witcher series, a remake of cult classic shooter XIII, and more. This is gaming news for April 15 to 19. This week's first freebie is a big one, relatively speaking. You probably heard that Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris caught on fire this week.
Amazon's got an unstoppable deal right now for a smart doorbell: The Ring Video Doorbell Pro is on sale for $199. That's the usual $50 discount we've seen before on this item, but on top of that, Amazon's throwing in a free Echo Dot. The third-generation Echo Dot is usually $50 (albeit currently on sale for $40), but it's not clear if you get the second or third generation mini speaker with this deal. It connects to your Wi-Fi via 802.11b/g/n and you can check-in remotely to see who's at your door. The Pro also works with Amazon's Alexa digital assistant, which allows you to use the smart speaker for two-way talk with whoever's at your door.
If you want to summon Google Assistant in your car, you basically have two options: Enable "Hey Google" and Smart Lock on your Android phone or launch Android Auto (should you be lucky enough to have a car with it built in). But with the new Roav Bolt, Anker gives us a third option, and even iPhone users can get in on it. Like the Alexa-powered Roav Viva, the Bolt plugs into your car's 12V socket and connects via Bluetooth or an auxiliary jack. A pair of USB ports lets you keep your phone charged while driving, and a single button on the front lets you manually summon Google Assistant. Otherwise, the Bolt is all about its noise-canceling microphones, which should provide better voice pick-up than the mic on your phone.
Your message has been sent. There was an error emailing this page. You don't need to live in a smart home to benefit from a Wi-Fi-connected smart speaker. Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and other digital assistants can help you in dozens of ways, and you don't have to lift a finger to summon them--just speak their names. If you already know you want a smart speaker, scroll down for our top recommendations.
Vivint Smart Home has announced the Outdoor Camera Pro, a new security camera that it says can detect a potential intruder and warn them they are being watched, encouraging them to leave the area. If the camera detects someone hanging around a monitored area, it sounds a warning tone, turns on a red LED encircling the camera's lens, and sends a push notification to your smartphone. You can customize the schedule when lurker monitoring is active, so you're not overwhelmed with alerts. Like the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, Vivint's new outdoor camera is outfitted with a 4K HDR image sensor, but both cameras have lower bandwidth requirements than the new Arlo Ultra 4K camera because they stream video in 1080p resolution. The advantage of using a higher-resolution image sensor comes into play when you zoom the recorded footage to examine details, such as facial features or to read a car's license plate.
Logitech's Harmony division makes better universal remote controls than just about anybody. Its latest model, the $250 Harmony Express, might be its most practical, even if it's not the company's most powerful. The Harmony Express doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the company's top-of-the-line Harmony Elite ($350 MSRP), which Logitech will continue to sell. The Express doesn't have a touch-sensitive display, it doesn't have as many programmable buttons, and it can't execute complex macros that incorporate both home entertainment gear and smart home devices. But don't mistake its apparent simplicity for a lack of horsepower.
TP-Link has given its Kasa Smart Wi-Fi light bulb line a significant upgrade. The old LB series has given way to the new KL series, which dramatically upgrades the design of the bulb (for better or for worse) while leaving the core operational features intact. The Kasa KL series is available in three versions: a color-tunable bulb (KL130), a white-tunable bulb (KL120), and a white dimmable/non-tunable bulb (KL110). All three share the same physical design (with minor cosmetic exceptions), work via the same Kasa Smart app (available for Android and iOS), and offer the same luminosity of 800 lumens (a 60-watt incandescent equivalent). The KL130 draws 10.5 watts, while the two white bulbs each pull 10 watts.
Smart bulbs help you automate and fine-tune your lighting situation, and today you can get a four-pack of our favorite white LED bulb, the Philips Hue White Ambiance A19, for $40 on Amazon. That's down from a list price of $50 and the lowest we've ever seen it. These LED bulbs provide detailed control options, allowing you to personalize the dim, set schedules, turn lights off and on from anywhere, and more using the Philips Hue app. You can also control the bulbs using your voice when you connect them with an Amazon Echo, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit. And you won't have to replace them often--each bulb lasts over 25,000 hours, or 20 years.
A new challenger could be approaching Apple's iconic AirPods (pictured above). Microsoft is developing a pair of Surface-branded wireless earbuds, according to Brad Sams' oft-reliable sources at Thurrott.com. Microsoft surprised the world by releasing the surprisingly good Surface Headphones last October. The sleek, premium-priced $350 headset features an intuitive control scheme and some wickedly good noise cancellation chops, courtesy of four active mics that keep tabs on the sounds around you. "Spin the noise cancellation dial on Microsoft's new cans, and the world fades away," we wrote at the time. Of course, you could also use the Surface Headphones to converse with Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant via its mobile app.